Crying is a natural response that occurs more often than the general belief. In fact, crying is good for your health. The national average for the number of times a woman cries in a month is 3.5 and a man is 1.9 times. This article sheds light on why people cry and how it can be good for health.
Types Of Tears And Why They Occur
Humans produce tears on three occasions. They are as follows.
These are the tears that clean your eyes every time you blink. The tear ducts continually secrete basal tears, which are rich in proteins and are anti-bacterial. They keep your eyes moist. Dry eyes occur when there are no sufficient basal tears.
These are responses to stimuli and occur when your eyes are irritated by external factors such as wind, pollen, onions, etc. They are released by the tear ducts to relieve the eye of the irritants.
These tears contain a high level of stress hormones and are shed to display a wide range of emotions like anger, sadness, depression, etc. Emotional tears are usually used interchangeably with the word crying.
Why Crying Is Good For You
Crying is often seen as a sign of weakness, but it is actually the opposite. Crying occurs when the mind is overwhelmed and there is a need to release the emotion. Only when a person is sufficiently able to feel and express his sadness or happiness will he be able to cry.
It often takes a lot of courage to feel a disappointment let alone be able to release it. Suppressing and not feeling the emotion is not a sign of bravery. Here are some other benefits of crying.
Cry helps people in regulating their emotions, calming down and reducing distress. Crying activates the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) which releases calming hormones having a self-soothing effect.
Being able to cry is a sign of a person who is empathetic. Crying also has a social benefit. Do you see a random stranger crying and feel sorry for them? That’s empathy. It promotes interpersonal interactions and helps the person in distress gain some sympathy. Though it sounds pathetic to cry for sympathy, a study actually found out that crying in public rallies support and friendship of peers.
Releasing emotional tears increases the flow of endorphins and oxytocin. These chemicals are feel good hormones that help relieve both physical and emotional pain.
Many people suffering from depression are unable to cry and let go of their pain. Having a good long cry and able to feel the pain and let it go enhances mood and promotes well-being.
Research has revealed that crying releases toxins from the body including stress hormones.
Helps Sleep Better
Have you seen movies where the female protagonist cries and cries until she falls asleep? Studies have proven that crying can help make a person feel light headed and fall asleep quicker.
Crying helps destroy bacteria. Tears contain lysozyme an anti-microbial fluid that kills bioterror agents like anthrax.
Basal tears clean the eyes and keep the eyes moist and healthy. If the mucous membranes in your eyes dry out, you will lose your vision. If the membrane dries up even a bit, your vision becomes blurry. Dry-eyes is actually a medical condition that often occurs in people who wear contact lenses. It can be resolved using moisturizing ointments prescribed by ophthalmologists.
Increases Emotional Strength
Crying is good but it can occur only when you have come to terms with the distressing stimuli. It helps your body face difficulties and let it go making you emotionally stronger. It helps you let go of the baggage and end your suffering.
There is no doubt that crying can help improve overall health. Here is some medical evidence to support the same.
Here is some more scientific evidence that says crying is all it takes to lift up your spirits.
When Is It Time To See A Therapist
A healthy cry is when you have cried for a long time and you feel light headed or relieved after the session. Crying a few times a month is considered normal but when it happens quite often or if it doesn’t help you feel better, then there might be a cause to worry.
An individual might be depressed if they –
- Often have crying jags
- Cry for no reason
- Cry uncontrollably
In addition to the above, if the crying affects their daily activities, it is time to see a doctor.
Symptoms of Depression
Here is a list of the common symptoms of depression.
- Having trouble concentrating
- Memory loss
- Drop in grades
- Feeling hopeless
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sleeping too much
- Weight loss
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Mood swings
- Panic Attacks
- Unexplained aches
- Unexplained cramps
- Reduction in socializing
There are many forms of depression. Different people experience it differently. Some can fall into episodes of depression for a few months and come out of it leading their lives normally. For some it is even more chronic lasting for years together. For some, change of seasons or the ending of their favorite TV show can send them into an episode of depression.
How Crying Can Help The Depressed
Crying is good but doing so aimlessly just aggravates depression. But crying in a controlled environment with a trained therapist can help relieve depression. Many people do not seek help until it is too late. Most people know that something is wrong, but owing to the stigma around mental disorders, many have reservations about meeting a therapist.
Depression is one of the leading causes of deaths among teens and adolescents. Often, parents and loved ones notice when it is too late. Depression is just like any disease. If you are down with the flu, you get medicines and feel better. Depression is no different. Coupled with therapy, medication can eradicate this menace.
Don’t suffer it in silence. Tears are just the manifestation of emotion. There is always hope. Always remember to so speak and express. There will always be someone to listen. Grab your box of tissues now!